Longhorn Wrestlers Hold End-Of-Season Ceremony

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Arizona State Class 3A 152-pound state wrestling champion Mark McCarty could draw most of the attention at the Longhorn's season ending award banquet.

The ceremony, to which the public is invited, will be held 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Payson High School cafeteria.

McCarty will be feted as the Longhorn's only 2008 weight class champion and a grappler who has long been a fixture on the Rim Country wrestling scene.

He first flourished while competing as a pre-teen in USA Wrestling free-style, folk-style and Greco-Roman tournaments.

As a student athlete at Rim Country Middle School, he wrestled his way to White Mountain League weight division crowns.

On Feb. 8 in Glendale, he capped a stellar four-year career at Payson High School by winning the state title.

Others who will be honored at the festivities include state runner-up Bryan Burke (215), state fourth-place finishers Isaac Cluff (142) and Ben Sandoval (132) as well as fifth-place medalists, Ben Lee (112) and Nick Goodman (160).

At the state tournament, Payson finished sixth in the 26-team field.

If coaches decide to highlight the past season at the upcoming ceremony, a third place showing at the Tim Van Horn Memorial Tournament might be among the accomplishments cited.

In the PHS-hosted tournament held in early January, the Horns finished third overall behind two Class 5A teams, Corona del Sol and Gilbert Highland.

Individually, Kevin Bryant (third; 171), Ryan Cox (fourth; 135), Jab Ward (fifth; 103), Sandoval (third; 130). Burke (fifth; 215), McCarty (second; 152), Cluff (third; 140) and Goodman (second; 160) earned medals.

Since the inception of the team in 1973, the Longhorns have won 10 state championships, seven state runners-up crowns, 27 regional titles and an AIA Scholar-Athlete team award.

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